It’s generally best practice (and therefore recommended) that IT automation projects be handled in a way that prioritizes them based on benefit, such as time savings, cost savings, improved service levels, etc. Of course, as with anything else in the IT world, we know that there will occasionally be situations in which automation simply isn’t so straightforward. So, what should IT professionals do in scenarios where implementing ITPA seems nothing short of impossible?
First, when you’ve identified a particular process or workflow that seems as though it will be challenging to automate, resist the urge to give up and move on. Instead, take a deeper look into the details of the process in question and ask yourself the following question:
Can some or all of the steps in this process be standardized?
If you answered yes, then automation is a very real possibility. It will probably just take a more in-depth analysis and strategy for doing so.
If the answer to the above question was ‘no,’ that still doesn’t necessarily mean automation is impossible. It just indicates the need for further consideration. For instance, it could be that the steps within the process are, in fact standardized, but they cannot be automated using traditional methodology. If this is indeed the case, consider the possibility that your solution may support execution that effectively side-steps GUI, but is instead command-line-based. Alternatively, many products allow for the creation of a GUI macro, so this is another option.
In either case, building out an automation strategy can be challenging, but not impossible. It will simply take time, as testing code for efficacy and functionality is required throughout the process. Additionally, complex scripting is typically required, which involves identifying the steps necessary to correct the problem at hand and then developing and writing a script that replicates those steps. A procedure is then required to define the criteria and outcome, including resolution or escalation as necessary.
Finally, all of these activities should be recorded and included in your log reports.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Not to mention incredibly inefficient.
The good news is that while the scenario above is certainly a possibility for those ambitious enough (and who have lots of spare time on their hands), with the right automation tool, much of this is not necessary. In fact, today’s IT automation solutions not only feature rich libraries of pre-packaged workflows, but also provide the ability to customize processes without the need for scripting or coding. That means even those challenging situations, as mentioned above, can be streamlined and automated quickly and easily.
If you find yourself struggling with complex workflows and processes that seem impossible to automate, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your approach and consider all your options. You might be pleasantly surprised.